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    The evolution of pro soccer in the nation’s capital will take a new step forward on February 11th with the new Canadian Premier League club backed by Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. From there, owners and key figures in the club will have as little as three weeks to get a manager, coaches and a full roster of players ready for pre-season camp, which is scheduled to start at the beginning of March for other CPL clubs. In the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, it’s squeaky-bum time for those building Atletico Ottawa.

    Many of the league’s top players and prospects have already signed elsewhere in the league, and much of the former Fury roster has found new clubs in both the CPL and USL, but there are still many players Atletico Ottawa can to look at and potentially sign before the regular season kicks off in April. The roster will likely include some loan players from the Atletico program, as well as some L10 and PLSQ players, however there is also a chance for Atletico Ottawa to pick up some fairly well-known names in the Canadian Soccer community. Here are five players that I think Atletico Ottawa brass should seriously consider making their first grouping of signings.
    Find the list & analysis on the NSXI Network.

    The Canadian soccer landscape is going through a serious metamorphosis. The last decade has seen the launch of regional Division 3 leagues Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec and League 1 Ontario in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2019 the Canadian Premier League played its first season. For male soccer players wishing to play professionally, these are encouraging developments. Prior to the existence of these leagues, the odds were significantly stacked against players trying to make the leap from youth to professional as the gap in playing level was simply too large.
    It is a gap that long time soccer broadcaster and current Marketing and Communications Officer for BC Soccer Peter Schaad knows all too well. Over much of the past year, Schaad and his BC Soccer cohorts have been working steadily to address that issue for BC players.
    The idea of a Division 3 regional league like PLSQ and L1O was included in BC Soccer’s 2016 strategic plan. However at the time the ‘Regional Tier 3 League’ as it was called gained insufficient interest from potential participating clubs and the idea was shelved. But the start of the Canadian Premier League breathed new life into BC League 1 and it was revived.
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    Langley-born Joel Waterman officially made history on Tuesday afternoon, as he became the first player to make the jump from the Canadian Premier League to Major League Soccer, joining the Montreal Impact for a fee reported to be in the $100k region. Waterman also became the first player sold by a CPL team for a transfer fee, giving us an example of how beneficial the new Canadian first division can be for young footballers in this country.
    Despite being the only player to make the jump to MLS so far, Joel Waterman wasn’t necessarily considered one of the best players in the CanPL. In fact, OneSoccer ranked him just 43rd on their year-end list of the top 50 players in the league. Waterman has many strong qualities though, and if an MLS team was convinced by his quality, then maybe he was somebody we were overlooking all season long.
    Let’s take an in-depth look at what Waterman does and doesn’t bring to the table for the Montreal Impact:
    His versatility is very impressive, and is certainly one of the main reasons Montreal signed him.
    Joel Waterman is a centre-back first and foremost, and while he can play other positions on the pitch, his versatility within the centre-back position on its own is rather impressive. As you know, there are multiple different formations used regularly in all levels of football, and pretty much all of those formations use either 2 centre-backs (a back 4) or 3 (a back 3). The roles played by centre-backs in these 2 formations vary quite a bit more than you’d expect, as do the areas of the pitch that they cover.
    Read more on the NSXI Network

    Thomas Nef has an indepth interview with Adam Hemati, an Iranian-Canadian who plays as a midfielder for Iranian club Persepolis. Learn his story.
    Available in both audio & video formats for your convenience.
    Find it here: https://www.northernstartingeleven.com/canucks-abroad-interview-series-episode-2-with-adam-hemati/

    Ottawa Fury announced last week that they have decided to suspend operations following issues regarding their CONCACAF sanctioning for USL in 2020. There is much to debate about decisions by those involved, however I  want to take this opportunity to look back at the 16 years that Ottawa Fury were operating in the capital region, and all the Canadian players, coaches and managers that this club gave opportunities to, and helped guide along the way.
    Ottawa Fury began in 2003 through John Pugh (current Canada Soccer Association board member), bringing women’s soccer to the capital region in the form of a USL W-League. Between 2003 and 2014, the Ottawa Fury W-League team managed to win nine division titles, made the national finals on three occasions and were league champions once. Over the course of its eleven seasons the W-League team featured such players as Kadeisha Buchanan (now with Lyon and the Canada women’s side) as well as Ashley Lawrence (currently with Paris Saint Germain and also the Canada women’s side).  
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    On Canucks Abroad with Thomas & Juan, our host interviews Canadian Soccer Players from around the world.
    In this inaugural episode, Thomas interviews Aramis Kouzine, who played a year of futsal with CSKA, was cut from Philadelphia Union, and now plays in the Ukrainian Premier League.
    Catch the whole episode & subscribe on the NSXI Network.

    They are building a league. None of it existed before. It is easy for fans and followers to lose sight of what was so obvious only a few short months ago. Now people are paying attention to players, coaches, teams, formations, and results. But the challenge of winning games, learning your trade as a player or coach, or making tactical adjustments is undergirded by a league infrastructure which has an entire set of its own challenges, difficulties, and pitfalls. From marketing the teams to broadcasting the games to running your venue on game day, everywhere one turns there is a new challenge for the Canadian Premier League. And each of the teams face hurdles to overcome that are unique to their context.
    For Cavalry FC, their contextual challenges have included weather, transportation, and stadium creation. Their home base at Spruce Meadows required a significant amount of construction to get ready for this season including the construction of a large grandstand. Ian Allison, president and COO of Spruce Meadows Sports and Entertainment describes how the combination of weather and construction combined to negatively impact their playing surface.
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    El Diego
    Canada produced a stunning display to defeat their southern neighbours for the first time in over three decades, and while the effort on display deserves a lot of the praise there were also multiple tactical decisions that led Canada to a more than deserving victory.

    It’s been a while, but the Sea-To-Sea Podcast is back with another episode. Hosted by Nathan Martin and Rob Notenboom, this episode features discussion around the women’s game in Canada, some Canadian Premier League Talk, and the excitement around the national team.
    The episode closes with an interview with a couple members of the Above and Beyond Brigade; a great program led by some Cavalry FC players to reach out to their community!
    Listen & subscribe on the NSXI Network.

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    • The standard model in Europe is that the new club of a loaned player pays the salary, in its entirety. They are getting a piece they need without having to pay a transfer, and they pick up the salary cost.  For players with very high salaries, yes, a part only could be paid, but not gifting the player to the new side. It would be rare for a new club to only pay 15% of a salary that is not enough for the team loaning out, it makes more sense to have that player on their books. Only with young players who can't get minutes on a first team or is a reserve player needing a challenge might the original club accept the receiving club pay less of the salary; that might have been the case when Ballou was loaned to Albacete by Barça.  I completely agree that what should count towards salary cap is what the club is paying, strictly. And if it is just a part of the original salary, that makes loans potentially very beneficial for a club, you can get real quality for less.  I too heard there was a loan restriction, I think that Gil Marín said, as you comment, that it was two players. Meaning the rest have to be signed outright. The solution is multiple: -establish a minimum salary -don't overpay the top tier, don't break the bank on high-profile players -improve travel and schedule to allow teams to have a shorter roster -facilitate short-term entry of local amateur players to cover injuries (we saw this when a keeper was out) -slowly raise the salary cap, even if by 4-5% a year over the next 4-5 years. -support players in quality ways in things like providing shared apartments, support to travel and move to the club, health benefits, and even, if need be, finding or setting up part-time work for players. I know that this is rather common in Spanish 4th tier which is totally regional and where salaries are too low. Quite often the club asks club STHs who are business people to help out. I think we are a ways away from this last aspect still.
    • I think we all do. Some may feel it is bad etiquette to ask why the CSA has decided not selling tickets for the second match. Personally I would like to hear from the CSA as to their reason for not doing so? I don't feel that this is an unreasonable request especially in light of the following examples, where in each instance a reason was given: https://www.football365.com/news/five-football-games-played-behind-closed-doors   https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/50022814 https://www.dw.com/en/inter-milan-to-play-two-games-behind-closed-doors-after-racist-abuse/a-46873728 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2019/04/26/montenegro-ordered-play-behind-closed-doors-punishment-fans/ https://www.football-stadiums.co.uk/articles/playing-behind-closed-doors/ With 4 out of the first 5 friendlies this year being played like this, maybe the title of this thread should be re-named: "BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: THE ROAD TO QATAR"
    • Cost? Makes a big difference I guess. Look, we all know this is not a normal situation, it's a little much to expect 2 full houses on those dates against the same team. Would be great though.
    • He's making at least 100k but go upwards to 2 yes. CPL is completely unrealistic ATM. But a lower team in Danish topflight should be in de cards (but it has been since summer).
    • OOPs.  Almost forgot. A lot of us were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the league last year, some of that was down to low expectations, but the CPL won't have that benefit this year.  And as pleasantly surprised as we all were there was waaay too much daylight between the quality players on every teams roster, (mostly the players with some pro experience), and the less than quality players (mostly rookies).  It showed in every match with every team.  Can't have that on a successful team and with the domestic pool for this league being so tiny, as a manager who likes his job, you've got no other choice but to look around the league to poach existing players.  Or you could bring in another kid and hope he's good enough on enough nights that you get to keep your job.  
    • ^ No, it's doesn't just have to be about money.  It's also not always the player's choice to leave or not necessarily that the manage wasn't happy with the value they received from a player the previous year.  It could just be that the player doesn't fit into things going forward.  Doesn't have to be anything negative at all.  However.. Think some, if not all the players, who many Valour supports would have liked to have held onto for 2020 agreed to play last season "on the cheap" as it were.  They invested a year in the expectation the following season would be more profitable, if they lived up to expectations.  As it became clear it wasn't going to be any more profitable, as was implied, they took that as a big "fu'k you" from Gale & Co., returned the favour in kind and moved sideways leaving Valour to start from scratch. Does that sound like it has the ring of truth to it?  Valour not exercising the option year of a player's contract, the year that includes an increase and instead offered a new contract at current wages?  You know low-balling the player because Gale though they didn't have anywhere else to go?  Hope not.  Hope it's just my cynical gearbox making angry noises.  Doubt it though.                 
    • Who benefits from the second game being played behind closed doors? Canada MNT? No. The CSA? Probably not. T&T? Yes. If anyone pushed for this game to be played behind closed doors, you'd think it would be Trinidad and not us. However, the CSA has done some strange things before, so who really knows, but you'd think they'd want a stadium full of fans for both games. At the same time, I struggle to come up with a reason why T&T would care to have a closed-door, aside from the fact that it would be easier for them to play in an empty stadium.  The thing that makes the most sense would be that Canada Soccer feels they cannot sell out both games. Maybe they want to see how sales go for the first one. But on the other hand, wouldn't a half-filled stadium be better than closed-door?  I want to know what the logic is behind this. Edit: should have waited a few more seconds to see what @SkuseisLoose posted before I posted this. If that is the case I can see the logic at least.
    • I heard that they're  going to open the second game up to the public if the first one sells out.
    • I am considering coming up from Argentina for the whole tournament, March 20-April1. I have not seen anything about match ticket prices yet, but I suspect they will be cheap and easy to get, as it is my experience is that in latinamerica these kind of tournaments are poorly attended and tickets very reasonable. I was considering Japan in July-Aug, but the non-resident price for Olympic football match tickets for both women's and men's matches are too extortionately high. In Mexico, all the matches are in Guadalajara, a great , safe, cheap city, so there is no insane tornament travel involved, and you can OD on all 15 matches (the group matches double-headers) in a short period of time, while stil having free time to relax or do other stuff. Looking for a long-overdue chance to see and support a Canadian side in a half-decent tournament, and have some fun, and would also like to hang-out and go to matches with some V's, though making friends with some fans of the other teams would be great too. If I go, I would probably visit the beachtown of Zihuatenajo for a week first to visit my sister and do the guitar festival.  I started a new thread, as I did not want to interrupt the discussion on players and teams on the other Oly-Q thread. Best to all, Dave😀
    • Was there anything in my post above that's not true?
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